A few things come to mind when reflecting on last night’s shooting session: 1. Man, that was fast; 2. My vanity and my encroaching baldness are archenemies; 3. For the first time since we began this project, we had an actual recorded shooting percentage; 4. Man, that was fast.
So I got this e-mail from Roswell, Georgia, about a week ago:
“… I wish you all the best. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found out someone has a father, brother, son, daughter, boyfriend or girlfriend serving overseas or in America and I always say simply, ‘Please tell them thank you for me.’ I’d like to help in another small way if I can. I just found out about your program today (through Hot Clicks on the SI.com website). Even though I live in Georgia, I’m on my way to New Hampshire on Saturday. My Dad is an Army veteran, and we’ve never talked much about his service, but I’m headed to New Hampshire to visit with him. He lives in Rochester, and I’d love to bring him over to watch while I rebound for you if you need some help on either Thursday or Friday of next week – 10/21 or 10/22. I can devote an hour or several.”
That was from a terrific fellow by the name of Chris DeBlois, and it turned out that 10/21 was better than 10/22 on this end … so 10/21 it was. Last night. We originally had a FOX News crew scheduled to be here for the evening, and when that was postponed to Monday, I called Chris to let him know. “My girlfriend is going to be very happy about that,” he said.
Turns out it was a double date. Chris, his girlfriend Patricia Vuittonet, his dad Fran DeBlois, and his dad’s girlfriend Sara Keniston arrived at the Epsom Central School gym at almost precisely 7 p.m., and upon meeting Chris, my first thought was this: “I’d kill for his hairline.”
Others might kill for his resume: After growing up in Williamstown, Mass., and playing high school basketball, baseball and golf, he played golf for four years and baseball for one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Here’s the part where he and I took mildly different paths: I have one degree after attending five different colleges. He has three degrees from MIT.
He’s been a structural engineer in Atlanta since 1989, and the principal in two different firms. He designs buildings — churches, schools, libraries, museums, houses and others — plus unusual sculptures and outdoor artwork. Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta got three life size dinosaurs out front last year that Chris helped design.
While Mr. Three-Degrees got into his rebounding duds, I got to meet Patricia, Sara and Fran. Fran is an Army Veteran and self-proclaimed ‘tweener, in that he served during peacetime, between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was stationed in Germany as a communications specialist, and in addition to being a witness to part of the construction of the Berlin Wall, he was the Army champion of the hammer throw. He raised his family, including Chris, in western Massachusetts, and eight years ago met Sara, of Bar Harbor, Maine, and eventually the two decided to meet in the middle … as Chris told us earlier, they now live in Rochester, NH.
When Chris reappeared from the locker room, we briefly went over the drill, and it was decided that Chris would be the full-time rebounder, Patricia the full-time hand-off person.
We started, and in what seemed to be approximately the time it’s taken you to read to this point …
… we were done.
Chris was an indefatigable ball of energy. Patricia was precise in her transitions. Add those together, combined with what Fran would later tell us was 92 percent shooting (1,632 shots to make our 1,500), and you’ve got 1,500 in just under an hour and 10 minutes — or about one made shot every 2.8 seconds. Something to be said for chemistry, I guess. They brought it.
Those shots, combined with 1,000 more this morning, bumped us over the 48 percent mark, at 480,507 down, 519,493 to go to 1 million made foul shots.
Thanks for the ridiculously quick pace, Chris and Patricia. Thanks for the donation, Sara. Thanks for your service, Fran.
It was a pleasure.